The purpose of Illinois Resident Armed Forces Fee Exemptions is to acknowledge the contribution of Illinois residents returning from service abroad or mobilization by the President of the United States as an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces, the Illinois National Guard, or the Reserves of the United States Armed Forces [20 ILCS 805/805-305].
In recognition of their services, the Department of Natural Resources will waive specified fees for camping, fishing and hunting for the amount of time that the active duty member spent in service abroad or mobilized.
Effective April 1, 2012, the Illinois Fish and Aquatic Life Code, and the Illinois Wildlife Code were amended to set the fees for fishing licenses, sportsmen's combination licenses, and hunting licenses for resident veterans (after returning from service abroad or mobilization by the President) at one-half the license fee for residents. In addition, the law requires veterans to provide verification of their service, and authorizes the Department of Natural Resources to establish what constitutes suitable verification of service for the purpose of issuing these licenses to resident veterans at a reduced fee.
In addition to the fee exemptions explained below, pursuant to section 10 (a) of Illinois' Regulations for Hunting, Licenses and Stamps, a person on active duty in the Armed Forces, who entered the service from Illinois and is an Illinois resident, may, while on ordinary or emergency leave, hunt without a license; however, a Federal Waterfowl Stamp and state Habitat Stamp are required.
Regardless of all fee exemptions referenced here, all other hunting/trapping regulations apply, as detailed in the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, including the requirement to obtain a Hunter Safety Card before obtaining fee-waived licenses, permits and/or stamps. Military veterans may receive a Hunter Safety Card by completing the online portion of Hunter Safety requirements, without taking the field portion course. To obtain a Hunter Safety Card, veterans must provide the DNR their online hunter safety voucher and military duty documentation.
For specific details of the exemptions, please see Illinois Administrative Rules Title 17 (1) (c) Part 2510.
Military members are eligible for free sport fishing, hunting and camping for one license year for each year served and for one year for each portion of a year served.
To receive a camping pass, sportsman's license, habitat stamp and/or deer permit, eligible military members shall:
Appear in person at the following Department of Natural Resources offices:
- Frank Holten State Park, 4500 Pocket Rd., East St. Louis, IL 62205, 618-874-0035
- One Natural Resources Way, Springfield IL 62702
- 18750 Lake Rd, Morrison IL 61270
- 7240 Ranger Rd., DeWitt IL 61735
- 11731 State Highway 37, Benton IL 62812
Apply within two years after their return from abroad or release from mobilization (not applicable to half-price licenses).
Provide verification of dates of service abroad or verification of dates of mobilization (see Section 2510.20).
Provide a photo identification card.
The Armed Forces Special Pass (camping) shall become effective on the date of application and shall expire on the same month and day in the year the entitlement expires.
The Combined Sportsman's License will expire March 31 of each year. A new Combined Sportsman's License, stamp and deer permit may be obtained by following the procedures under subsection (b) or by showing an unexpired Armed Forces Special Pass.